Friday, December 20, 2013

FBI Launches Investigation of Holden and SCEC

Bureau has begun interviews, reportedly plan sit-down with Election Administrator; City Council meanwhile to consider following County Commission lead in No Confidence vote.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 12:03 AM

Election Administrator Rich Holden
  • Election Administrator Rich Holden
The Flyer has learned from multiple sources that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation of alleged irregularities within the purview of the Shelby County Election Commission -- either in the administration of elections or regarding some other issue. The FBI has begun interviewing members of the Election Commission and reportedly has scheduled an imminent sit-down with county Election Administrator Rich Holden.

Simultaneously, Memphis City Council member Myron Lowery has informed the news media by email that he intends to seek consideration of a Council vote of No Confidence for Holden “in the appropriate committee in our first meeting next year.”

On Monday of this week the Shelby County Commission voted 9-0 for a No Confidence resolution regarding Holden’s conduct of his office. The resolution was introduced by Commissioner Wyatt Bunker, a Republican like Holden, and had bipartisan support.

Holden has been increasingly under fire for a series of problems that have occurred since his tenure began in 2009, These included a glitch in the August 2010 countywide elections whereby several hundred voters were told erroneously that they had already participated in early voting, as well as a late processing of ballots for elections in the 2012 election cycle that resulted in numerous voters receiving wrong ballots and the judicial nullification of the outcome in a school board race.

A recent audit of the administrator’s office also turned up alleged irregularities.

Only the Election Commission itself can act on changes in Holden's status, and attempts to depose him have so far failed on a 3-2 vote, with the Republican majority supporting Holden. The Commission did vote unanimously a year ago for a temporary suspension of the administrator and a six-month period of probation.

Holden was not available for comment late Thursday night, but he has consistently maintained that past problems have been corrected and that no new issues have arisen this year.

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